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UCLA Soccer A Work in Progress 3-1 Loss to Georgetown

Georgetown used its home field advantage and outplayed UCLA for a 3-1 victory

I hate to say it, but the Georgetown fans chant of "overrated" seemed an accurate and just comment on #1 UCLA. Also, I thought the home field advantage mattered in an unusual way. Suffice it to say that unlike the University of Maryland loss, the referee did not steal this game from UCLA. Georgetown was the better team and earned its 3-1 win over UCLA.

The article on the official UCLA website does a good job summarizing the game, but I will add a few points.

1. The Georgetown student section was right behind the UCLA goal. (Both halves as the fans moved to stay behind the goal.) And when I say right behind, I mean right behind. The end of the net, literally, started the very vocal standing student section. This clearly effected UCLA goalie, Juan Cervantes. They mocked him in many ways including the classic Left Right step thing and the Finding Nemo Seagulls. He did not have a good game and, while I can't be sure, it seems the second goal was partially his fault as he was out of position.

By comparison, Georgetown's goalie JT Marcinkowski had six saves to the mere two of Cervantes. Many of JT's saves were spectacular. I have never seen Cervantes before but for this game, he seemed rattled and off.

2. The offense needs work. Early in the game UCLA looked like the better team but never really attacked. Their best chance came on a free kick in the first half. UCLA's offense close to the Georgetown goal was "offensive." Georgetown was clearly the better team for the last 30 of the first half as UCLA's offense was non-threatening.

When UCLA fell down 2-0 the game changed and UCLA took over but the offense remained ugly. The game summary describes the worst example thusly:

Down two goals, UCLA (1-2) began to press and move more players forward into the attacking third. Danladi and Abdullah Adam had a golden chance in the 62nd minute when they both got in behind the Georgetown defense. However, some confusion between the players and a heavy touch from Danladi resulted in a squandered opportunity.

What happened is we had a breakaway 2-1 down the middle on the goalie, but Danladi and Adam could not decide who should have the ball. If I want to put it nicely, they were both too unselfish. If I want to be less nice it was a horrible mental error that made a golden opportunity look like two peewee soccer players tripping over each other.

3. UCLA's back has some issues. Maybe Coach Salcedo is playing conservative because of these problems. Starter Edgar Contreras was, well, terrible. IMO he should have got a red card early in the game when he gave a way a breakaway on a fumble passed and pulled down the Georgetown player who was on his way to a 1-1 with the goalie. While Edgar received a yellow, he was lucky not to get a red. Edgar did not play in the second half.

4. UCLA is small. Jose Hernadez and Brian Ildoski are midfielders listed at 5'6 and 5'7". I doubt they are that tall. Georgetown had a lot of size on UCLA. While Jose drew a number of fouls when the largest Georgetown players literally threw him around, Ildoski got a yellow card on a desperate challenge of a Georgetown player that seemed twice his size. At times, it seemed like two teams from different age groups as the Georgetown players were often taller but always seemingly more sturdily built.

5. Sit down, coach. The referee was not the best but did not cost UCLA the game. While some may say failing to call a penalty call when UCLA was pressing late was crucial, I think UCLA should have been playing most of the game with 10. Salcedo was going ape on the referee. IMO, he should have been going ape on his non-existent offense before UCLA fell down 2-0.

6. One bright light may have been Jackson Yueill. In addition to a nice goal, Yueill was a great save and a half inch away from a hat trick:

Yueill also threatened to post a first-half goal on a beautiful free-kick from the top of the 18-yard box, but his bid was denied by Georgetown's JT Marcinkowski. . . . Yueill also had an excellent chance to bring the Bruins back within one in the 68th minute, but his attempt went careening off of the crossbar.

UCLA soccer team needs a lot of work right now. This is not a matter of the refs, the heat, etc. (Although playing at home could help. As a youth coach, I find it shocking that you can put loud obnoxious fans 8 feet behind a goalie.) The defenders looked suspect and the offense looked tentative.

Let's get this fixed. Go Bruins.